Planning permission was granted in 2019 for the changes – which once housed BHS – and include demolishing and rebuilding the second floor and refurbishing the ground floor.
Since then, Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group, which owns the two chains, has not responded to requests for information about the development. Phillips Street-based Axis-Mason architects, who have worked on the plans have also remained silent and it is unclear what form the store will take.
However, scaffolding and hoarding has now been erected around the shop and new drawings recently submitted as part of the planning application show a ‘Sports Direct entrance’ to the western corner of the building and a ‘Flannels entrance’ to the eastern corner.
It appears that the Flannels store is due to be based on the upper level with stairs and a lift leading up to it.
Vicky Trehorel, St Helier’s town centre manager, said the development represented a positive step during an otherwise torrid time for the Island’s retail sector.
‘It is lovely to see that businesses are still interested in investing in the town centre right now, as the future is very uncertain,’ she said.
‘This is literally the ideal time for it, as it means that work can be done while town is a little quieter and the impact is going to be a lot less on the consumer. It is very opportune for lots of reasons. It is promising – it is a bit of hope,’ she said.
Speaking about USC relocating to the former Next premises on Queen Street, she added: ‘It is nice that there is now an opportunity for footfall at the top end of town. That unit was vacant for quite a long time, so it is now nice that people will be driven up there to visit USC.
‘Any TLC that happens to stores on the high street is fantastic because it helps to keep town looking vibrant,’ she added.
It is unknown when the two stores may open.